Monday, October 26, 2009


By Carol Fitzgerald -- Publishers Weekly, 10/26/2009

In an industry without a lot of good news to report, the one consistent bright spot has been publishing for teens. While adult trade sales are expected to fall 4% this year, juvenile and young adult sales are expected to increase 5.1%, according to the PW/IPR Book Sales Index. Although it's impossible to completely break out juvenile from young adult (YA), it is possible to look at expected growth rates for different categories. In the fiction/fantasy/sci-fi segment, where most sales in the YA category fall, we expect nearly 13% growth in 2009, reaching $744 million. By 2013, sales in this segment are anticipated to hit $861 million, a 30.6% increase over 2008...READ FULL ARTICLE HERE.

So many fascinating facts in this article like:

What Motivates Them to Buy

Consistent with our 2005 survey, book copy was the most important factor that would make teens pick up a book. A stunning 91% saw this as the most important influence. The cover was important to 79%. The next most important influence, with 77%, was familiarity with an author's previous work; 74% were looking for the next book in a series. For 73%, the title was important. (See related post HERE)

While we are not exploring results of those over 18 in this article, it is noteworthy that 89% of those over 18 chose familiarity with the author first, with the description on the back flap (86%) and the next book in the series (79%) all more significant than the cover (76%). There's likely a difference between the way that teens and adults make book choices.

Most reported that parents don't monitor what they read (55%), while 23% said their parents do weigh in some of the time, and 13% said they are monitored by their parents, but still read what they want. Only 9% follow parental monitors.


  1. It's kind of like writing headlines (with regard to jacket copy). You have to reel them in within seconds, or else they'll move on to the next ad (or book, in this case).

    - Julie

  2. Interesting stuff! I would have thought looking for the next book in a series would be more important to under-18s than to over-18s considering how many YA and MG series there are out there.

  3. This makes sense from what I've seen as a former teacher. We started the day with thirty minutes of reading time. Since my students were all reluctant readers I spent alot of time matching them with books. Back cover copy was key. Just a couple of key sentences could draw them in, at least make them crack the cover. For my students, less was more. Short, pointed, cliff-hangerish copy was best.

    Now I'm writing YA full-time. I'm hoping my books will appeal to reluctant readers as well as others.

  4. Great info! Thanks for posting this!

  5. Those percentages are staggering! How much input does a writer and their agent have on things like cover design and jacket copy? It makes me nervous not have a say in them, when they're clearly so important.

  6. fascinating numbers - and I guess that back cover copy - the book's written pitch - is more important than any of us might have thought!
    great post, Jill!

  7. This is some great news. I'm happy to report that I fall into the 'Under 18' category, in spite of the fact that I am only 4. (Figure that one out)
    Now, all I hafta' do is get that doggone book written, published and write a killer-Back/Flap and I'll be on Easy Street, right?
    Thanks for letting us know this information. It is encouraging to realize that kids read the Back/Flap to find out if the book is something they'd like to read. Sort of says something for their intelligence, doesn't it?
    ~ Just Joany

  8. Facinating! I love how you show evidence in your post here.



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